The suspension of Aishah Azmi by a British school for refusing to remove her veil in the classroom has triggered a huge controversy. Islam, freedom of choice, the desirability of wearing religious symbols are all being debated. I do not think it is desirable for a teacher or student Muslim or non-Muslim to cover her face in a classroom. The face is an effective medium of communication and it should not be obstructed. A niqab cannot be compared with a cross or turban because it does not cover the face.
Our clerics, who consider themselves guardians of religion, have discouraged the spirit of free inquiry and reflective thought in settling religious matters. The case of the veil that has aroused a vexing debate all over the world is an example of their bigotry. Has Islam ordained burqa as an essential dress code for women? No. Islam has only asked women and men alike to observe chastity. Muslim women should follow real Islam that gives them complete freedom to go out in any decent apparel.
Nauman Younis Lodhi,